By Our Reporter
KAMPALA: The National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) has asked Parliament to intervene and urge government entities to clear outstanding water bills, currently standing at 70 billion shillings.
The corporation’s Managing Director, Silver Mugisha, said he was specifically concerned with the Ministry of Defense and Veteran Affairs, which has bills of Shs27.5 billion; Uganda Police, at Shs23.4 billion; and Uganda Prisons Service, with a debt of Shs11.8 billion.
“The request we put to you as a committee is to impress upon government institutions, especially prisons, police, and the defense ministry, to budget for all their water consumption. They have the discretion that they would rather budget for travels and the rest but budget less for water,” said Mugisha.
Mugisha said that government entities were accustomed to budgeting less for water bills and asked MPs to ensure that the next budget caters for all water arrears.
Mugisha said this as he appeared before the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities, and State Enterprises (COSASE) on Wednesday.
Mugisha said NWSC had agreed with the Ministry of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development to budget for 43 billion shillings, which would be cleared in the next three years.
MPs were displeased to learn that the corporation, which has been accused of paying poor salaries, has a big portion of its income in debt.
“These are billions of shillings; it is unacceptable yet you continue to provide services. What are you doing as National Water to recover this money?” The Committee Chairperson, Hon. Joel Ssenyonyi, asked.
Igara West MP, Hon. Gaffa Mbwatekamwa, said it is shocking that the Ministry of Defense is among the biggest debtors yet it is a well-funded institution with a classified budget that can cater for bills.
Mbwatekamwa said the defaulting entities were deliberate in not clearing their water bills, cognizant of the fact that Parliament annually appropriates money for utilities.
MPs asked Mugisha to provide a list of all public and private institutions that have accumulated bills. “Give us an analysis of how long an individual entity has not been paying and how big the figure is. We want to look at figures that we can enforce and where we can have influence,” said Hon. Roland Ndyomugyenyi.
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